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Best windows for 3 seasons porch (sunporch)?

December 9, 2018

We live in Northern New York and the previous owners of our house installed a sunporch about 10-15 years ago. When we bought the house we thought the windows were Anderson, but now that we’ve lived with them they appear to be just a generic window. The porch is not heated in the winter and we’ve noticed the seals have started to crack and the space between the two panes has gotten hazy. I want to replace the windows, but would appreciate recommendations for windows that can withstand our -10F to -20F winters on an unheated porch (we’re in the Pella, Marvin, Anderson price range). Our preference is casement style. Thanks!

Comments (11)

  • millworkman

    I would look at in order, Marvin, Kolbe, Andersen down the list and Pella near the bottom well below the other brands mentioned. That's of course assuming your thinking a wood or wood/alum clad window. I would probably look into a triple pane in your area as Northern NY gets quite cold.

    richfield95 thanked millworkman
  • annied75
    Do you plan to heat the space in the winter? (You mentioned that it's currently unheated.) I would determine that first and then look at the various types of windows accordingly.

    I live in the Midwest and have an unheated 3-season room with single pane windows. The only time I can't use the room is on bitter cold days or super hot ones. I have a small electric heater that warms up the area quickly and adequately.
    richfield95 thanked annied75
  • richfield95

    The room has a small electric heater that we use a few times a year when the porch is maybe 60F, to heat up to 65-68 but we have no intention of making it a heated space. . So it’s important for us to have windows that can withstand the cold. I’m not too happy about having to replace them so soon!

  • annied75
    I feel your pain! Windows are expensive to replace and it's an anxiety-inducing process of comparing the different manufacturers and styles. I think you're on the right track with the brands that you listed.
    richfield95 thanked annied75
  • mimimomy

    I've had bad Andersons and good Andersons, and good Marvins and Pellas. But I think a lot of the issues with windows arise in the install. Just like anything else, if they aren't installed right, they aren't going to perform well.

    Just my thoughts!

    richfield95 thanked mimimomy
  • redsilver

    The wood casements' I know of leak water. .. in new and replacement models...

    Stick with triple pane standard function up and down window. Get the highest quality screen you can. You can get the ones that open both, down from the top or up, from the bottom if you desire, but generally you may need this option only on a few to allow for fresh air in spring rain seasons, or warm air ventilation in the late summer, in absence of a/c.

    So you could pick 2 or like that which would allow cross ventilation, if the budget is consideration... Also, if you ever want to add a window unit ac/heater combination casements will not work in that manner.

    Also, you live near the woods. I would avoid wood windows. For the same reason everyone was so thrilled to buy aluminum windows when they first came out, in the 60's. The wood frames of any style/brand... will NOT retain enough moisture to avoid cracking in low temps or swelling in high humidity, in short order, (Termites could swarm and do damage also--same as interior wood flooring/wood siding) and these are the high end windows, in new construction experiences of neighbors--the dry and cracking and swelling, especially if they are not sheltered by an effective porch roof, and they will require maintenance such as staining or painting, regularly..and the handles seem to have mere plastic gears that are not going to stand the test of time on the casement styles if they are used regularly......

    The vinyl clad wood are going to give you issues too in time, they are vinyl..it will crack, peel and fade in UV light rays, in time..

    The best ones, longest lasting, will be the aluminum windows in white or brown or black or your choice of colors.. Make certain that insulation is added around the perimeter when they are installed! and Caulked well. Make certain the windows are attached with screws to the home structure, not just "caulked' in place(it happens IDK why?????)when they are installed. Document the installation. Keep all warranty papers. Don't bother with the divided light option..any overhang you might have will add to the life length of windows.

    On another note, consider adding a faux marble window sill on the inside, and be sure again, that caulking is done well, exterior and interior.

    Also, go ahead and have the company you deal with promise to come and check the caulk and functioning of the windows they install after the 90 day or 180 day timeframe to make sure they are functioning well, and if you need them sooner, that they will come. TIP: If they are difficult to lock, open, close, or use in any way after they are installed, NO, they will not improve with use. They may have been twisted when mounted, or they may be don't work from the factory? for whatever reason. Make sure to hasten their replacement, don't live with it till you have no recourse but to spend money to fix an annoying issue.

    Just like anything, there are good companys, and bad installations, there are manufacturer defects and experienced quality installation. Hold off the final payment till you are completely satisfied that they are all in good working order and protect your room from the exterior elements.

    richfield95 thanked redsilver
  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd

    When you look at your window options, see if that twin casement size opening can accommodate a single casement. I know that Marvin makes some good size units and that would clean up that space a bit and make it feel larger and more connected to the exterior.

    richfield95 thanked Windows on Washington Ltd
  • apple_pie_order

    Have you looked at replacing just the double pane units? The units run a couple hundred dollars and up depending on size, much less than new windows in the brands you are considering. Installers measure each, the units are custom made off site, then they install them quickly.

    richfield95 thanked apple_pie_order
  • richfield95

    Thanks for the info. The existing windows are double pane and I believe they are vinyl, but the seals in between the panes has cracked. I don’t know who the manufacturer is, there are stickers on the windows, but they’re all faded so you can’t read anything.

    If we replace them, I would do a single window instead of split to make a cleaner look. They’re 39” wide and I checked Anderson and the largest stock size I think I saw was 36”.

  • iamtiramisu
    Look into Okna. We just had a huge 3 pane slider window replaced and it’s amazing what a difference it made in our family room. I can’t wait to replace the old Andersen sliding patio doors in the spring.
  • seabornman

    I like the Marvin all-Ultrex (fiberglass) windows, and casement style windows seem appropriate fro this situation. I used the Marvin wood-Ultrex on my upstate NY house, but I think the all fiberglass construction would be better in your case. And if you leave the windows open in a blowing rain the fiberglass can take it.

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